Case Application – Making you Say Wow (Chapter 3 page 68-69) When you hear the name the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, what words come to your mind? Luxury? Elegance? Formal, or maybe even dull and boring? Very expensive? Three words that the company hopes come to mind are exemplary customer service. Ritz-Carlton is committed to treating its guests like royalty. It has very different corporate cultures in the hotel and lodging industry, and employees are referred to as “our ladies and gentleman. ” Its motto is printed on a card that employees carry with them: “We are Ladies and Gentleman serving Ladies and Gentleman. And these ladies and gentleman of the Ritz have been trained in very detailed standards and specifications for treating customers. These standards were established more than a century ago by founders Caesar Ritz and August Escoffier. Ritz employees are continually schooled in company lore and company values. Every day at 15-minute “lineup” sessions at each hotel propoerty, managers reinforce company values and review techniques. And these values are the basis for all employee training and rewards. Nothing is left to chance when it comes to providing exemplary customer service.
People looking to get a job in this hotel are tested both for cultural fit and for qualities associated with a real passion to serve customers. A company executive says, “The smile has to come naturally”. Although staff memebers are expected to be warm and caring, their behaviour towards guests had been extremely detailed and scripted. That is why a new customer service philosophy implemented in mid-2006 was so different from what the Ritz had been doing before 2006. The Company’s new approach is almost the opposite from what the company had been doing till 2006.
Do not tell employees how to make guests happy. Now they are expected to figure it out. Says Diana Oreck, vice president, “We moved away from the heavily prescriptive, scripted appproach and toward managing to outcomes”. The outcome didn’t change, though. The goal is still a happy guest who’s really happy and delighted by the service received. Howevery, under the new approach, staff members interactions with guests are more natural, relaxed, rather than sounding like they are reading lines from a book.